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Mindful of your inner artist (Being solar not lunar) article & video

“The ‘mindful artist’ first of all notices that their thoughts, actions and interactions are creative, fundamentally. The next position they take is to choose to direct that creativity in a deliberate way so that s/he ‘creating’ the best things that they can in your life”
Dear Integral Meditators,

What does it mean to become the ‘artist of your life?’ In the article below I offer a few thoughts on this!New year is also a good time to think about new personal directions and growth, I’ve created a new video for my Life-fullness Life coaching program, that you can view below the article.

In the spirit of mindful creativity,


Mindful of your inner artist (Being solar not lunar)

‘Everyone is an artist’
Yesterday I watched the new Joseph Beuys documentary “Beuys on Beuys”. Beuys was one of the biggest influences on me when I was at art school. His idea that ‘Everyone is an artist’ was one that decisively transitioned me from being an outer artist, or object maker to being an ‘inner artist’ or a meditator. By a meditator here I mean working primarily with mind, thoughts, attention and states of being as a way of influencing, contributing to and changing the world.
Beuys’s essential point was that since we all think, act and interact in the world, we are all creative beings, beings who affect change. By becoming conscious, deliberate and mindful about this, we can direct our creative energy deliberately toward our life and society in order to effect positive, creative change.

Mindful of your inner artist
So the object of mindfulness here is to first of all notice that your thoughts, actions and interactions are creative, fundamentally. The next position to take is to choose to direct your creativity in a deliberate way so that you are ‘creating’ the best things that you can in your life. For example:

  • If you come back tired from work in the evening, rather than just being passive and reactive with your family/friends you are thinking ‘How can I create an enjoyable atmosphere here?’ This is even (and especially) if you are a bit tense or moody
  • As you are hanging out the laundry you are aware of what you are thinking, and gently directing your attention and awareness toward beautiful and constructive patterns of thinking and feeling. You are looking to use your imagination and attention in active generative ways.
  • When you are having a meeting, you are actively looking to create connection, empathy and meaning with the people that you are with. You are looking to inspire good energy in a way that will help the group become a force of the good in some way.

Becoming Solar, rather than Lunar
One way in which I often explain becoming a mindful artist is that you are becoming solar rather than lunar in nature. The moon relies upon the reflected light of the sun for its light, it has no light of its own. This is like many people, they are reactive, they rely on the power of others for their own power. For example, they have power because of the position they hold in a company, but if you separate them from that position or label, they have very little sense of their own power. Their power is reflected, lunar. A mindful artist however is a source of power and energy. S/he is a generative person. You can rely on such a person to create goodwill, inspiration, direction. If there is a situation where there is a challenge, they can be relied upon to be actively working something out.
If you meet a person who is solar in nature, who is a mindful artist, this tends to be felt and experienced by their presence. It is something that they embody, it is in their physical and somatic being, not just their mind and intellect.
What can you start with today in order to become the mindful artist that you are, and express your solar nature?

Watch Toby on Becoming the artist of your life:

Related articlesMindfulness – Becoming the sculptor of your reality
Moving from being a consumer to being a producer

The Life-fullness Life Coaching Program with Toby

Life-fullness coaching is a unique integration of mindfulness and life-coaching that is designed to help you lead a progressively more awakened life. The essence of the Life-fullness approach is to integrate the different parts of who we are into complementary strengths so that we can really experience ourselves living our life to its fullest…

Watch Toby talking about the  Life-fullness Program:


All upcoming classes and workshops for January 2020

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Starts Monday January 13th, 6.30-8pm – The Men’s group, the path of conscious manhood

Starts Friday 17th January – The Integral Mindfulness & Meditation Online Program, January-July 2020

Friday, Sat, Sunday 7,8,9th February & Friday, Sat, Sunday 21,22,23rd February – The Qi Gong Foundation Program & Program for coaches and trainers 

Sunday 9th February, 7.30-8.30pm – Lunar New Year Meditation 2020: Developing your inner-resourcefulness & practical wisdom in the year of the Rat

Integral Meditation AsiaOnline Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Still water that moves – Meditation for greater creativity

After we learn to still our mind, we then move onto another stage in meditation where we experience a heightened state of creativity. It becomes like “Still water that moves, and moving water that is still”.
Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores how to access deeper creativity through meditation, and explains a simple technique that you can start practicing with. The Tuesday and Wednesday evening classes will be on this subject, so if you want to practice, do come down! Schedule of sessions is beneath the article.In the spirit of deeper creativity,


Still water that moves – Meditation for greater creativity

One of my favourite expressions from Ajahn Chah is where he refers to the achievement of a state in meditation where our mind becomes like “Still water that moves, and moving water that is still”. Part of what this means is that, after we learn to still our mind, we then move onto another stage in meditation where we experience a heightened state of creativity. In this state our mind is still, and yet on a subtle level we experience flashes of creative inspiration from our intuitive consciousness. Our mind moves in a creative way, whilst at the same time being still and quiet. This is a paradoxical state of mind, as normally we think of our mind as either still or moving. This deeper state involves both.
Below is a simple meditation that you can use as a way of moving into stillness, and then going beyond it to a state of heightened creativity.

  1. Centring and focusing – Imagine a flame of light about 6-8cms high right in the centre of your chest, at the level of your heart. As you breathe in, breathe your attention into that flame in the centre of your body, as you breathe out, relax your body-mind from that centre. Build relaxed concentration in this way.
  2. Decompressing tension – As you continue to breathe, you will notice different emotions, tensions and thoughts from the day coming up. Simply acknowledge these and keep focused by using the flame at your heart. It may take a while for your body-mind to settle, be patient.
  3. Moving into stillness – Gradually move into stillness, get accustomed to the feeling of it.
  4. Inviting creativity – After a while you may notice that, within the stillness there are deeper, intuitive and creative movements in your mind. These movements are different from the normal distractions or discursive thoughts. Pay attention to them and what they might be showing you. If you like you can take a particular topic and let your intuitive mind explore it.

This is a really simple way of opening a door in your consciousness to your own deeper creativity and inspiration. It also works perfectly well as a meditation to calm your body, mind and heart.
Enjoy exploring!

Upcoming classes and workshops

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Wednesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15am, June 15th, 29th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

Dear Integral Meditators,

Why meditate? One reason worth thinking about is that it is a way of keeping yourself creatively energized by learning to tap into deeper levels of our collective consciousness. The article below explores this theme…

Two workshops in Singapore this Saturday, details are immediately below!

In the spirit of


Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

“If we surrendered to earths intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees” – R.M Rilke

A few people have remarked to me recently how substantial my article and blog output seems to be week-in week-out. They wondered how I keep it up, don’t I run out of ideas? The answer to that question is that no, I almost never find myself short of ideas. I normally have to choose what to write on from 4-5 creative ideas that are present in my mind at any given time. In this article I want to put down a few reasons as to why my creative energy doesn’t run out, and how this relates to meditation & mindfulness practice. With this in mind here are a few points and pointers.

The mediators view of the body-mind is the opposite to most conventional ideas. Rather than our mind being in our body, and specifically in our brain, experienced meditators start to realize that in many ways his/her body is in her mind. The mind is not limited to the body, and has access to a vast amount of creative energy and information that is outside of the individual body and brain. More than this, each of our individual minds are networked into what you might think of as a Universal mind or intelligence, in somewhat the same way computers are all linked to the internet.
This Universal or ‘Big’ mind (I’m using a convenient, simplistic term for something obviously deep and complex here) seeks people to grow and express its ideas through; people whose individual minds are open, receptive, balanced and resilient, and who are motivated to make a contribution to the betterment of the world.
In this sense you might think of yourself as an individual as being like the soil and sunlight in which an idea from the Universal Mind can grow like a plant. If you look at it this way you can see that the idea is not ‘yours’, it has a life of its own, you are just the caretaker and gardener for the idea to grow and enter the outer world.

Meditation – Becoming a terminal for the Universal mind
Looking at it this way you might think of meditation as like connecting a computer to the internet; when you sit still and go within you connect your own mind (the computer) with the Universal Mind (the internet) and consciously allow the Universal Mind to start ‘downloading’ creative ideas into your mind. Some of those ideas will be ideas that you have a unique ability to grow in the garden of your own mind (cue analogy shift back to gardens/plants!), for example I get a lot of ideas relating to meditation and mindfulness because I am already an expert in that domain; my ‘small mind’ is ideal soil and light for new ideas about meditation practice to grow through.

What ideas want to grow through you?
Imagine yourself sitting in a beautiful garden; it is the garden of your own mind. Set your intention; what type of creative ideas do you want to open up to? Business? Art? Relationships? With this intention relax and still your mind deeply as you sit in the inner garden of your mind. Stilling your mind with intention is like connecting it to the ‘internet’ of the Universal Mind. Patiently and without hurrying observe what sort of ideas, images, memories and intuitions start to ‘pop out’ of the stillness; what creative inspirations start to weave their way into the quietness of your garden. This stage is a bit like fishing (I know, yet another analogy!), it kind of like you just sit still and wait for a bite. You can’t push for it or try and control it.

Be playful, patient, be confident! – Once some ideas start to grow through you, how will you continue to grow them? How much time are you prepared to commit? What type of sacrifices are you prepared to make? As the ‘gardener’ it’s up to you how much you nurture your plants, but the more you do the more you’ll find that you are never ever short of creative inspiration in your life and work!

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Saturday 18th July, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 18th July, 2.30-5.30 pm – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A Three Hour Workshop

Wenesday July 22nd 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating with your inner strength of heart & mind

Wednesday July 29th 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditation for connecting to a positive attitude

Saturday 1st August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Simplicity in the Complexity: An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Zen

Saturday 1st August, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Friday 14th August, 7.30-9pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre

Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *
Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology


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What Lies Beyond Stillness? – Meditation and heightened creativity

 Dear Integral Meditators,

What happens when you have learned to still the mind in meditation? That is the question I explore below in this weeks article.

Yours in the spirit of deeper creativity,


What Lies Beyond Stillness? – Meditation and heightened creativity

For many of the people who do coaching with me or attend a workshop, the #1 goal often seems to be to be able to access a place of calm and stillness within themselves through meditation practice.
The achievement of resting in inner stillness consistently and at will, in the face of the varied circumstances of daily life takes persistent training in mindfulness and meditation, and is a notable achievement. But what lies beyond the achievement of stillness in meditation once you have attained it?
The inner silence (or space or stillness) that we find in meditation is a living space with nothing in it (no-thing). The flip side of this empty space is that it is also a space of all-possibilities. This means to say that because there is nothing there, in that space anything could appear or be created; it is unlimited.
So a space of stillness within our mind is a place where we have temporarily dropped all the constraints of our conventional everyday mind, for whom some things are possible, and others are definitely not. It is not altogether surprising then that, after we have entered a space of stillness in meditation, quite often we start to get flashes of creative inspiration, great ideas about a project at work, new insights into our personal life, great ideas for a work of art, a previously undreamed of solution to a personal problem.
These types of highly creative flashes of inspiration come from a level of our consciousness beyond the everyday mind, and are different from the ‘distractions’ that we have when we are trying to still out mind. It is the beginnings of experiencing the higher or trans-rational levels of our consciousness, within which there is an infinite source of creative ideas and creative power.
However, the challenge in our actual meditation can be that we find ourselves departing from the stillness that we have been focusing upon, and find our mind getting distracted by all the inspiration.

As a solution to this it can be useful to set aside a little time at the end of your meditation session to focus upon this deeper level of creative experience. So, for example if you have a 20minute session:

  • The first five minutes might be spent on stilling the mind
  • The next ten minutes could be spent moving more deeply into that stillness and staying with it
  • The final five minutes might be then spent observing creative inspirations that arise from the stillness, noting them and perhaps contemplating how you might practically apply them to your daily life.

In the long term what happens is that you start to be able to access this level of higher creativity even when out of meditation, which in turn enables you to make your whole life a an expression of your deeper creativity. The only chaser I would add to this is that sometimes these creative ideas are deeply challenging to our sense of what are limits are as a personality, so with the experience of deeper creativity comes the need for greater courage to act upon that which is arising within you.

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website 

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Reflecting on the Relationship Between Art and Meditation

Here are three areas and life lessons that meditating and making art both teach:

Close Observation

Most of us think we know what the world looks like, but if we examine this assumption we learn it is not as true as we thought. For example if you try and draw a tree you discover that your idea of what a tree looks like and the way in which it actually exists physically in space are very different, and that in order to get to the “real” tree and draw it accurately you have to let go of your idea of the tree and look closely and clearly with your eyes.
In a similar way we may think that we know ourselves well, we think we know who we are. However, when we start meditating, which is partly the discipline of witnessing and observing our mind and self, we discover that the person we think we are and the person that we actually behave like are actually very different. Meditation teaches us the bitter-sweet art of seeing who we REALLY are and trying to bring our self-image and behavior into an authentic and genuine communion.
Both making art and meditation have made me find simple objects and activities very interesting and fulfilling as there is always endless detail and nuance to observe and enjoy. Last Friday I took a bit of time off and went to sit down in East Coast Park and just look at the sea, listen to the wind in the trees and observe the play of the afternoon sunlight across the landscape. I can’t imagine a much more fulfilling time.

How to See Through Difficult Times

If you have ever tried to create a piece of art work you will know that often (though not always) there is a time when everything about the picture seems horrible, ugly and awful, and where the critical voice in your mind is telling you that you may as well give up and trash the whole thing, and that you also may as well give up art too. After a while as an artist you come to expect this ‘phase’ in your work to complete a piece, and you know that the main thing to do is “keep calm and carry on”, steadily working through this phase. You learn that it is part of a natural cycle, and when it happens it just indicates that you are at a certain stage of the creative process. You don’t panic, after a while it can even be enjoyable in a funny way.
Similarly as a meditator you learn that sometimes your mind just goes through dark phases. Sometimes you know the reason, sometimes not, but either way you come to understand through sitting with these dark phases in meditation that they come and go. They are just a part of the processes of life, like the weather; sometimes sunny, sometimes thunderclouds. Either way there is no need to panic, just be present with it and allow it to work itself through your system in a non-harmful way.

Understanding How Beauty is Both Spontaneously Ever Present, and at the Same Time has to be Worked at and Re-created all the Time

As an artist you learn through observing things from multiple angles and points of view that everything has its own type of beauty. As a result, wherever you look you can appreciate something about what you see. At the same time actually creating a  beautiful and authentic piece of art work is a very demanding endeavor requiring a lot of effort physically, mentally and spiritually of the artist. In this way beauty for the artist is something that s/he can always see in what s/he observes, but at the same time the creation of beauty is always effortful and challenging.
Really with meditation practice it works the same way, after meditating for some time you get to a stage where even if there is pain and confusion in your mind, there is also an ever present stillness and beauty that is available to you at all times, you just have to remember it. However, in another sense the daily process of thinking positive, acting out of integrity, creating harmonious relationships often seem to take just as much work and effort as they always did!
This seems to be the paradox of both outer and inner beauty; they are ever present and yet they demand constant effort to create and recreate. However, being in touch with the ever present aspect of inner and outer beauty (which are really states of being) helps us to keep even-minded amidst the struggles and strains of trying to effort-fully create a beautiful inner and outer life for ourselves and others.

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website